Recently I attended the annual American Library Association conference in New Orleans. This multi-day conference brought together 15,000 librarians from across the country, and even around the world, and gave them the chance to attend more that 450 programs and meet hundreds of vendors. In addition to coming back with lots of great ideas for the library, ALA is an opportunity to come home with lots of new books! Many authors attend the conference, providing programs and doing signings. Most major publishers have booths and give out dozens of Advance Reader Copies of upcoming books. Here are some of the books I came back with, that you might be interested in also.
If you’ve always wanted to run off to join the circus, then you’ll be in luck with a trio of new releases from Random House. More than any other book, I heard significant buzz about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which will be released on September 13. Everyone seems convinced that this story featuring two young dueling magicians is going to be a massive hit. Coming out July 26 is The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin. This is the story of two-foot eight-inch tall Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, who became an international celebrity through her association with P. T. Barnum. Lastly, on August 2, Among the Wonderful by Stacy Carlson will be released. It’s the story of a museum owned by P. T. Barnum in 1840s Manhattan.
Fans of Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City will want to keep an eye out for Death in the City of Light by David King. This historical true crime book comes out September 27 and is predicted to be a good readalike for Devil. King relates the story of Marcel Petiot, a respected Paris doctor, who during the Nazi occupation was discovered to be a serial killer with a house full of mutilated bodies.
Another book getting a lot of buzz and coming on August 16, is Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. In 2044 life on Earth has gone downhill drastically and people spend their lives living in a virtual utopia. The creator of this landscape, James Halliday, has built in a series of puzzles based on 20th century pop culture, that when solved, will gift the winner with untold power and wealth. When Wade Watts stumbles upon the first piece, thousands of others follow, some with the intent to do him harm.
From James Patterson to John Grisham to Jodi Picoult, dozens of bestselling authors have begun writing books for children and teens. Two more jump on the bandwagon in coming months. You’ll have to wait until October 18, but Chuck Palahniuk ventures into young adult fiction with Damned, the story of eleven year old Madison, who finds herself in Hell with a group of kids right out of The Breakfast Club. David Weber, author of the popular Honor Harrington military science fiction series, is starting a young adult spin-off featuring Stephanie Harrington, founder of the Harrington dynasty. Watch for this one on October 4.
Getting to meet authors and having books signed is one of the highlights of attending a conference like ALA. The opening session featured Dan Savage who spoke about the anti-bullying, It Gets Better Project. Dan has several books which he signed afterward for a gigantic crowd. Another session featured science fiction and fantasy authors giving their thoughts on the future of libraries and information retrieval. Afterward each author took time to sign books and chat with attendees. Those involved included: Orson Scott Card, Gail Carriger, Jim Ottaviani, John Scalzi, Carrie Vaughn, and David Weber.
Many authors sign books at their publisher’s booths. This way I was able to meet Wendy McClure, the author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. I had recently read this humorous memoir, which is guaranteed to bring back fond memories for any Laura fan. Another author that I enjoy reading and was able to meet was Chris Grabenstein. He was signing the books from his haunted mysteries series for children. I have not had the opportunity to read any of these yet, but am looking forward to the first, Crossroads. I hope to like it as much as his John Ceepak mysteries for adults, set along the Jersey Shore.